Hawaii concealed carry rights are borderline nonexistent. The Hawaii license to carry provides minimal freedom to carry a firearm, but only within the county the permit is issued for, according to HI Rev Stat § 134-9In an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant's person or property, the chief of police of the appropriate county may grant a license to an applicant who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more or to a duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation of the age of twenty-one years or more to carry a pistol or revolver and ammunition therefor concealed on the person within the county where the license is granted..
Statistically speaking, it would be far more likely to be issued a permit to acquire, which is mandatory for purchasing or otherwise obtaining firearms in the state and allows for possessing and storing a handgun or pistol in three identified locations, according to HI Rev Stat § 134-2No person shall acquire the ownership of a firearm, whether usable or unusable, serviceable or unserviceable, modern or antique, registered under prior law or by a prior owner or unregistered, either by purchase, gift, inheritance, bequest, or in any other manner, whether procured in the State or imported by mail, express, freight, or otherwise, until the person has first procured from the chief of police of the county of the person's place of business or, if there is no place of business, the person's residence or, if there is neither place of business nor residence, the person's place of sojourn, a permit to acquire the ownership of a firearm as prescribed in this section..
Here's some information on the Hawaii license to carry, the Hawaii permit to acquire firearms, Hawaii location restrictions and visiting Hawaii with handguns.
How To Apply (AKA Be Denied) For A Hawaii Concealed Carry Permit
Well, good luck. There were a total of 27 private citizens who applied for a civilian Hawaii concealed carry permit in 2016 and all were denied by their respective county's chief of police.
Licenses to carry are for either open or concealed carry. The state is "may issue," meaning it's at the issuing authority's discretion to determine if the candidate fully qualifies. It is illegal to carry openly or concealed outside a home or business without this license.
According to §134-9The chief of police of each county shall adopt procedures to require that any person granted a license to carry a concealed weapon on the person shall:
(1) Be qualified to use the firearm in a safe manner;
(2) Appear to be a suitable person to be so licensed;
(3) Not be prohibited under section 134-7 from the ownership or possession of a firearm; and
(4) Not have been adjudged insane or not appear to be mentally deranged.
(c) No person shall carry concealed or unconcealed on the person a pistol or revolver without being licensed to do so under this section or in compliance with sections 134-5(c) or 134-25. , a county's chief of police will adopt procedures based on four criteria for a license to carry:
- The applicant must be qualified to use the firearm in a safe manner
- They must appear to be a suitable person to be licensed
- They cannot be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, as per HI Rev Stat § 134-7
- They cannot be ruled insane and must not "appear to be mentally deranged"
There is a $10 fee for each license, as per statutory law, but it may vary at the county level. A firearms permit to acquire may have a different fee attached.
The official language within Hawaii's law on licenses to carry is:
In an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant's person or property, the chief of police of the appropriate county may grant a license to an applicant who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more or to a duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation of the age of twenty-one years or more to carry a pistol or revolver and ammunition therefor concealed on the person within the county where the license is granted.
The procedure to apply for this may vary county to county.
The City and County of Honolulu Police Department, for example, requires a handgun to be registered under the applicant's name in Hawaii, two passport photos, an application filled out in person with government-issued ID on hand, citizenship documents if born outside the USA, a handwritten or typed reason for a license to carry concealed firearms, and proof of completion of a firearms training course as per § 134-2(g) or a hunting license.
There are several requirements for owning and possessing a firearm in Hawaii. The applicant must not be:
- A fugitive from justice
- Convicted of a felony, violent crime or sale of any drug
- Under treatment or counseling for drug and alcohol abuse, at any point
- Acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder or defect
- Diagnosed with behavioral, emotional or mental disorders
- Under the age of 25 and has been adjudicated by a family court to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence or an illegal sale of drugs
- A minor who is or has been under treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol
- A minor who is a fugitive from justice
- A minor who has been determined not to have been responsible for a criminal act due to a mental disease, disorder or defect
- Subject to a restraining or protection order
Those who have been disqualified from firearms use under those requirements will be required to surrender or dispose of all their firearms and ammunition. It's a misdemeanor offense, otherwise.
Those who are no longer adversely affected by addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder or defect — and have medical documentation proving so — could qualify to own firearms once again.
Those who would simply like to purchase and own firearms within Hawaii will benefit from the far more popular "permit to acquire."
How To Get A Hawaii Firearms Permit
Compared to the 27 applications submitted for a license to carry a handgun in 2016 with no reported success, there were 21,408 Hawaii firearm permit applications processed that year with a 95.7 percent approval rate, according to county reports mandated by Hawaii Revised Statutes § 134-14.
The three highest percentage reasons for a denied firearm permit were mental incompetence/impairment (147 denied), "other" criminal offense (124) and domestic violence-related matters (44).
There were a total of 53,400 firearms registered in 2016 and 26,616 firearms imported into Hawaii that year.
A Hawaii permit to acquire handguns is a single-use permit for one specific handgun in a transaction. Annual longarms permits account for acquiring unlimited amounts of these types of firearms.
Obtaining a Hawaii firearms permit is dictated by § 134-2 and issued by the chief of police within one's given county where they reside, where their business is located or where their place of sojourn is.
There is an application required and there will be background checks on criminal and mental health history to determine eligibility. Fingerprints and a photo will be recorded with the police department in the county they are applying in.
Either a hunter education or a firearms safety/training course will be required depending on the circumstances, as well as a mental health waiver, medical information waiver, a firearms information form and questionnaire, a variable fee, photo identification and U.S. citizenship documentation.
All the previous prohibitors for the license to carry will also apply.
The firearm permit will restrict handguns to a few specific locations.
Hawaii Gun Laws Restrict Firearms In Locations With A Permit To Acquire And License To Carry
Hawaii gun laws restrict carrying or possessing loaded firearms on public highways unless with a license to carry.
A permit to acquire handguns will confine handguns to one's residence, place of business or place of sojourn within the respective county they applied within, according to HI Rev Stat § 134-25Except as provided in sections 134-5 and 134-9, all firearms shall be confined to the possessor's place of business, residence, or sojourn; provided that it shall be lawful to carry unloaded firearms in an enclosed container from the place of purchase to the purchaser's place of business, residence, or sojourn, or between these places upon change of place of business, residence, or sojourn, or between these places and the following:
(1) A place of repair;
(2) A target range;
(3) A licensed dealer's place of business;
(4) An organized, scheduled firearms show or exhibit;
(5) A place of formal hunter or firearm use training or instruction; or
(6) A police station
However, one may travel with the firearm in an enclosed container between these locations or to a place of repair, a target range, a licensed dealer's business, an organized/scheduled firearms show, a formal hunter or firearm training course or a police station. Otherwise, it's a class B felony.
State parks (§13-146-19"(a) No person shall use or possess bow and arrows, crossbows, firearms, pellet or BB guns, slingshots, or other implements designed to discharge missiles except as provided herein.
(b) Firearms and other weapons may be used or possessed if in accordance with section 13-146-41. The use and possession of firearms, and other weapons, when permitted, shall be subject to all federal, state, and county laws, ordinances, rules and regulations. Firearms and other weapons shall be unloaded when transported through nonhunting areas of the premises." ) and state forests (§13-121-3(b)"It is prohibited to enter or remain on public lands and other lands under the control of the board while carrying any firearm, including air or gas operated forms, bow and arrow, or any other weapon, trap, snare, poison, or any device designed to capture, take, or kill wildlife, except as authorized by law, license, permit, or administrative rule of the board.") restrict firearms on the premises.
There isn't a discernable state-issued list of locations in Hawaii where firearms are prohibited, but if anyone locates either a statute or government resource with location restrictions, please post it below.
Traveling To Hawaii With Guns And Hawaii Concealed Carry Reciprocity
As long as the traveler complies with TSA and federal requirements while traveling with a firearm, Hawaii concealed carry reciprocity allows for nonresident visitors to visit the state with a firearm for a continuous 90-day period, according to HI Rev Stat § 134-3"A nonresident alien may bring firearms not otherwise prohibited by law into the State for a continuous period not to exceed ninety days; provided that the person meets the registration requirement of this section and the person possesses:
(1) A valid Hawaii hunting license procured under chapter 183D, part II, or a commercial or private shooting preserve permit issued pursuant to section 183D-34;
(2) A written document indicating the person has been invited to the State to shoot on private land; or
(3) Written notification from a firing range or target shooting business indicating that the person will actually engage in target shooting.
The nonresident alien shall be limited to a nontransferable registration of not more than ten firearms for the purpose of the above activities."
The firearms being transferred to Hawaii (up to 10) will need to be registered with the chief of police in the county they're traveling to within three days of either the traveler or their firearms arriving, whichever gets to Hawaii later.
There are three criteria that allow firearms to be brought to Hawaii by a nonresident alien. They must possess:
- A valid Hawaii hunting license or commercial/private shooting preserve permit
- A written document stating the traveler has been invited to the state to shoot on private land
- Written notification from a range or target shooting business stating the traveler will actually engage in target shooting
Hawaii does not recognize out-of-state permits. Nonresidents may apply for a Hawaii CCW permit — Godspeed on that.
For what it's worth, for those who manage to get a Hawaii concealed carry permit, in theory it's recognized by roughly half of the U.S.
Click On Another State To Learn About Their Concealed Carry!
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.